Bridge over Mascoma River Progress Report

We set out to check on the progress of that blocked bridge over the Mascoma River.  We can tell you that the middle section is almost finished – the rails are up – but we can’t show you; we were so distracted by the beauty of the river, we forgot to take a photo of the bridge. Next time!

MRGNorthview

Looking north from the MRG bridge over the Mascoma River –  distractingly beautiful!

MRGLookingSouth

Southward view from the MRG bridge over the Mascoma River

 

And you meet the nicest people along the trail!

Bryce&Marie

MRGFriends

MRGBirches

Beautiful Birches

RRHistory

Reminders from the Railroad’s Past

Next time we’ll bring a tree identification book – such varied leaves scattered across the trail!

Eastern End of MRG Paved

mrgpaved

Intersection of Mascoma, Mechanic and High streets

Wow!  Most of the eastern end of the MRG has a base paving, up to the blocked bridge over the Mascoma River.  (There is a gap at one point where sewer line work will occur – Lebanon Public Works will then pave that section and the whole stretch will get a top coat.) A smooth paved surface will allow for all non-motorized uses including wheelchairs, baby strollers, skateboards, and in-line skating.

mrgpaved2

Near the underpass by APD looking eastward

mrgpaved3

Near underpass by APD looking westward

We will report on Friday on the status of that blocked bridge over the Mascoma River.

MRG from APD to Bridge over Mascoma River

Eager to know the progress on the blocked bridge over the Mascoma River, we set off on a westerly walk starting near APD.  Great progress on the installation of safety railings! Much of the trail is set on a rise above the surrounding land and the drop-offs are potentially dangerous.

MRG1

Looking westward near APD and the underpass.

MRG3

Others have discovered the trail.

MRG4aplles

Crabapples?

 

On one side of the trail is Longacres – on the other side is this small pond. We spotted two pileated woodpeckers and a Downy woodpecker as well as three ducks paddling and dabbling in the pond. Red-winged blackbirds flew in and out of the tall reeds.

MRG6pond

PileatedWoodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker – Googling, we find: “PILEATED (Woodpecker) – PIE-lee-ay-tid, PILL-ee-ay-tid (having a pileus or cap). Two alternate versions listed from the dictionary. If it bothers you when people say it differently than you do, lighten up.

MRG8

MRGbridge

Bridge over Mascoma River – imagine being the one to install the railing – those with fear of heights need not apply.

There is planking across the bridge and some of the railing has been installed. The bridge is not yet open, but is definitely progressing.

MRGbiker

Biker heading back eastward.

IMG_0600

Heading back

MRGbacktostart

Back where we started near APD, enjoying the Autumn light.

Scythevilleoverpass

Loving that golden glow!

Lots of Safety Railing Progress!

Image-1 (69)

Lots of safety railing has been built in the past few day, not just on the overpass bridge, but all along that area.

scytheville3

Slayton Hill Road Overpass Closure

ScythevilleUnderpass

Scytheville Underpass (AKA Slayton Hill Road Overpass)

The Mascoma River Greenway Construction Project will be installing bicycle and pedestrian railing on the Slayton Hill Overpass, requiring street closure under the overpass on October 11 – 13th. 7am to 5pm daily.

(Historically, this area of Lebanon was known as Scytheville; there was once a scythe factory on Slayton Hill Road. This bridge was known as the Scytheville Underpass.)

 

Progress on the Western End of the MRG

Today was a beautiful warm fall day – great for exploring the western end of the MRG.  We accessed the trail from the back of the Price Chopper parking lot on the Miracle Mile where a dirt road descends from an opening in the trees. And who should we meet but Paul Coats, Director of Lebanon Recreation and Parks, and, with Frank Gould, main mover on the MRG project.

MRGWestPail

Paul had come to see if a pile of rails had been trucked away – they had.  Progress!  (Note the new rock fill on the left to prevent erosion.)

We set off westward toward the Terri Dudley Bridge, currently the west end of the trail.

IMG_0415 (1)

The trail is wide and graded looking west.

 

MRGwestFork

Loop – straight leads to bridge over Mascoma River and the Terri Dudley Bridge – Right leads down to the river

We took the left fork and headed west.

MRGwestTreeehouse

A remnant from the past: this is an old railroad loading station for whatever business was above it on Mechanic St. There used to be a set of side tracks leading to the structure.

MRGwest2

Looking Westward

MRGWesternEnd

Bridge over Mascoma River with Terri Dudley Bridge (RT 4) overhead

Instead of crossing the bridge, we looped to the right heading back eastward to follow along the river.

MRGGWestLoop

MRGWestLoop3

We kept spotting an elusive cormorant paddling and diving here.

dc_cormorant_osprey41

MRGWestCOrmorantterritory

Cormorant territory

 

Eventually, we passed our entry point and kept heading east.

Deer

Deer tracks!

AddiPeteyDaisy

Addi, Pidi, and Daisy

We met Addi walking her dogs, Pidi and Daisy.  They are all frequent walkers on the MRG. (An unfortunate encounter with an aggressive driver on a road walk has spooked Pidi into fear of walking on roads.) They have easy access to the trail from home; Addi’s husband cross-country skied the MRG to work in downtown Lebanon about a dozen times last winter!

Fill and grading has helped eliminate some of the wet areas on this part of the trail . . . but eventually, the dry areas became more narrow.  Addi and her pups continued eastward to check the condition of the blocked bridge over the Mascoma River. (The front page photo of today’s Valley News featured work being done on that bridge.)  Addi agreed to taking a photo of the bridge as we rested on a pile of ties.

MRGWest

Addi & pups continue eastward

MRGwestBiker

We chatted with this biker who told us how much safer he feels on the trail as compared to roads.  He was pleased with how his bike was handling here.

IMG_0853

Addi returned with this photo of the bridge over the Mascoma River (looking eastward.) Upon completion of this bridge work, the trail will be clear from the pocket park by the tunnel (behind Goss-Logan Insurance) in downtown Leb to the Terri Dudley Bridge.

MRGWestward

Heading westward back to starting point.

This part of the trail was impassable just a few weeks ago. There’s work to be done but we’re getting there!

 

These stone retaining walls had us marveling at the effort involved in creating this railroad line without the equipment available today: the cutting of the stone, the transport, the buttressing of the hillsides . . . beautifully built and made to last.

MRGWestRoadParking

And here we are back at the dirt road leading up to the parking lot. Shoes a little muddy, but impressed by all that has been accomplished. Glad to know the blocked bridge over the Mascoma is progressing and that soon this part of the trail will be graded and hard-packed .  .  .  and the eastern section is scheduled to be paved this month!

(Thanks to Polly Gould for the walk and many of the photos.)

 

 

Thank You Donors

full page ad donorsFrom Sunday September 24 Valley News